Intel's network of research labs in Europe now embraces more than 4,000 R&D professionals and has more than quadrupled in size since its formation in January 2009. The question that remains is: where is the return on investment for Intel and the benefit for Europe?
It is true that while ILE's remit runs from silicon to systems to software to services, much of the work is oriented around high-level computing and services and is often based on the premise that the PC as client and PC as server will always be fundamental to information technology. This is something that is changing around Intel. Often the research is looking to establish use-cases for Internet-based services that can enhance society such as digital health care, digital government and digital education.
Changes coming in to the research program do reflect the shifting technology landscape in the real-world. ILE research now has a greater emphasis on mobile devices, on the Internet of Things and sustainability.
"Moore's law is the driver but there is a power efficiency aspect to Moore's Law that plays into sustainability," said Professor Curley.
One of the focus points now is on cyberphysical systems; where the Internet of Things intersects with a reliable cloud. The other aspect is a focus on extending the research from three pillars to four. So-called triple-helix research is said to be driven by commercial, academic and governmental interests. Now ideas are moving on to quadruple-helix research which adds the involvement of the ordinary citizen. This can manifest itself in such things as crowd-sourcing data for service use models.
So what does Intel Labs Europe actually do?
The list is long and covers the waterfront. It ranges from: materials such as carbon nanotubes to microprocessor architectures to visual, embedded and mobile computing, wireless communications and on to exascale computing, and applications such as security, automotive, health-care and assisted living.
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Intel Labs Europe has a a broad remit; from research to development and to product and company formation. But can the company measure a return on its investment?